With Opening Day for your Detroit Tigers drawing close, the players and coaching staff are making their final preparations to begin the 2021 season. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do so without the presence of one of their key coaches. New Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter has been sidelined by a positive COVID test, and will be away from the club indefinitely.
Per MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Toledo Mud Hens’ pitching coach, Doug Bochtler will join the major league club to lend his assistance as the team wraps up spring camp in Lakeland. Assistant pitching coach Juan Nieves, who has plenty of experience as a major league pitching coach, is well versed and should have no trouble running the show in the interim.
The news comes on the heels of starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull’s absence from the club for a COVID related issue. Turnbull initially looked like he might just miss his first turn from the rotation. Unfortunately, as manager A.J. Hinch confirmed over the weekend, Turnbull now seems likely to miss the first few series of the season. How many missed starts that could translate into is still unclear.
While vaccinations continue to roll out in force, baseball, like all other aspects of life, is still dealing with the pandemic. Fortunately, Fetter and Turnbull have been the only two temporary losses so far this spring. Per Beck, with vaccine availability expanded to include anyone 16 years of age or older in the coming weeks, the Tigers are exploring making vaccination available to players and staff. Hopefully all parties involved will be back to hundred percent shortly, and able to rejoin the club soon.
Tigers news this morning: Pitching coach Chris Fetter is away from the team after a positive COVID test. Fetter gave A.J. Hinch permission to release the news. Tigers are being proactive and will “mix and match” other coaches for today’s game.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 29, 2021